Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, (population 3,000) was established in 1790 around Spout Springs, a watering hole for early pioneers. The community’s original name was White Rock, but it became known as Mt. Vernon, after George Washington’s home, in about 1810.
Today, tourism contributes to the local economy, as do two industrial parks and Rockcastle County Hospital, the area’s largest employer.
The Renfro Valley Barn Dance, an entertainment center, was established by John Lair in 1939. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum is housed in the original John Lair horse barn, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum honors all forms of Kentucky music, including folk, gospel, bluegrass, and jazz, although country music certainly holds center stage. Visitors can explore five interactive exhibits and use a recording studio, as well as view a historic timeline with exhibits and dioramas that trace Kentucky music from its pioneer beginnings to the first radio station in the 1940s.
Other historic buildings in Mt. Vernon include the Bittersweet Cabins, which date back to the 1700s, the Red Bud School, and the Aunt Polly House, believed to be the second oldest structure in Rockcastle County and now used as a crafts shop.
Refro Valley hosts the Discover Festival each year, which features the historic travels of Lewis and Clark. Re-enactors, tents, old Kentucky rifles, and pioneer food give visitors a first-hand look at life during this period. Another annual festival, Mt. Vernon’s Old Fashion Trading Days, also features early history and life in the area.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2007.
For more information